Food · Musings

Coffee And A Treat

I’m fascinated by all sorts of things. I love a good cup of coffee and a tasty treat. I enjoy the idea of a mystery gift in the mail. I like to experiment a bit to see if I can find just the right roast and blend of a cup of coffee. When all of these things come together, it really is a Win/Win!

I happened across the Match Made Coffee subscription box thanks to an Amazon.com notification. At the time, there was a sale on a variety of subscription boxes and I decided to check them out.

The service is quite simple: each month I get a box in the mail with two cookies paired with a bag of ground coffee – each has been hand picked and paired for maximum enjoyment.

The bag contains enough coffee to make a couple of pots of coffee – figuring 2 cups or so per pot. Just enough to try it out but not so much that it stays on hand.

The price is just right, too. If you have a habit of hitting the local coffee shop, you can expect the box to cost around two visits. 🙂

My First Box

So far I’ve been pleased with what I’ve received. I’m on my second month and each delivery has been well packaged.

Hey, this is such a nice treat I’ve dug out my tried and true faithful Melitta pot!

If you are looking for a nice treat, a way to experiment with different coffees, or just a break in the daily routine, check them out. You don’t have to use the amazon.com sign up, either.

Musings

Happy Fall!

This morning I got up and turned on the heater. Hooray! That might not sounds like such a big deal, but around here we’ve been living with temps in the low to mid 90s with humidity to match. I’m tired of my a/c – and I love my a/c.

Now, I know that we have a few more days when temps will rise to the 80s again, but at this moment I’m enjoying what I can.

I’ve been dreaming of casseroles lately. In celebration of weather cool enough to have the oven on, it headed to the kitchen and raided my pantry.

I heard about Rao’s fantastic sauces and decided to give them a try. I enjoy a good spaghetti or lasagna, not to mention pizza, but tomato sauce and I are not good friends. The acidity is a game stopper for me.

Doing some research, I found suggestions to add butter and baking soda (in small amounts) to resolve that issue, so I decided to try it.

The Rao’s sauce is scrumptious! I had to stop myself from eating it out of the jar. Yes, it is pricey, but I think it is worth it when you have a meal you actually want to eat.

Check out lunch:

Quick & Easy Baked Pasta

Pantry staples make a tasty quick fix for any night of the week.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword Cheese, Marinara Sauce, Pasta
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 6

Equipment

  • 13 x 9-inch baking dish

Ingredients

  • 1 16 ounce box penne pasta
  • 1 24 ounce jar Rao's Marinara Sauce
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 – 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking dish with nonstick spray
  • Prepare pasta to package directions. Drain reserving 1 cup of the cooking water.
  • In the empty pot used to cook pasta, combine the sauce, butter, and baking soda. Mix until butter is melted. Use the pasta cooking water to rinse the sauce jar and add to the pot. Add the cooked pasta and stir to coat.
  • Pour the pasta mixture into the baking dish. Top with 1/2 to 1 cup of shredded cheese. Bake until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before serving.

Notes

I did not put foil over the top of the dish when it went into the oven.  It came out a little dry – which was fine by me.  If you want yours a little wetter, put the foil on for the majority of the bake time, take it off to finish melting the cheese.
To keep the cheese from sticking to the aluminum foil, spray the foil with nonstick spray.
I am sensitive to acidity in tomatoes.  The baking soda and butter were used to combat that.

Happy eating!

Musings

I Don’t Know About You But

Here we are in the middle of September with Pumpkin Whatever Season either upon us or fast approaching. Am I the only one not really ready to think about Fall?

We’ve had such <cough> warm (i.e.: HOT) weather that lately, as the weather is cooling a bit, I take notice when the a/c doesn’t run all the time. In fact, it has cooled enough that I can leave the door open to the screen until almost Noon before the a/c kicks in. Amazing! Dare I admit it is a bit disconcerting?

I’ve spent the last month or so dreaming about casseroles and roasts. Both of which tend to heat up the kitchen in addition to adding some wonderful scents in the air. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the salads and sandwiches that I indulged in all Summer. Frankly, they hit the spot because nothing else appealed. But now…I’m thinking pot roast.

Speaking of daydreaming, I recently picked up a really cute stamp and punch set for making Halloween cards. I’ve been dreaming about how I want to use them, but it seems just a bit too early to start in. And don’t get me started about creating Christmas cards! My designs have changed at least four times in the last month!

I don’t know about you but I feel like I’m not quite ready to move forward yet, even though I am really not interested in staying put.

On the plus side, I have several TV shows that will be returning with the new season – which is coming up sooner than I expected. Several of my regular authors will be publishing soon and at least one has branched off into new territory.

Many of my regular YouTubers are undergoing Change. One is expecting. One is on the road to completing some renovations in his home. One has added a fur baby to his family. One has lost a family member. Several are undergoing the process of re-evaluating their content and what they want to continue to work on.

Odd that all this seems to be coming to a head during Fall, but the reality is that most have been In Progress for most of the year – or at least the Summer. Fall tends to be the time to prepare for Winter’s sleep. The time for Nature to rejuvenate.

Rejuvenation

Perhaps that is what is happening around here. Most of the major projects are completed or at a point where it is not feasible to move forward until next year.

Somehow it just doesn’t feel quite like the right time yet. Maybe I’m just not ready to tuck in just yet?

Musings

I’m Thinking About An “Idea Book”

One of the upsides to having a real clear out is the uncovering of materials that are useful in many different ways. For example: A recent clear out of a corner of my office netted me a good sized three ring binder with some dividers.

I tucked it away for a while but drug it out when I realized I had accumulated a large collection of card recipes, color charts, and project sheets. What better place to put them where I could use them?

Yes, I could have left them on my computer but when you consider that in order to use them on the computer I’d have to utilize space that I would need for crafting… This worked out for me.

An “Idea Book” Can Be What You Want It To Be

I have several Idea Books. One is used to collect quilt block patterns and instructions. Another is used to keep room measurements, color choices, and ideas for design or decoration. Should I really get into gardening, I can create one for that endeavor, too.

Using what you already have is a great way to not spend any money, have a place to gather ideas, and not take up space on your phone. Until, of course, you are ready to tackle those particular projects.

Give it a try and see if it can work for you!

Musings

Slowly But Surely

I put in my order for my new calendar this week. It doesn’t seem possible, but we are already halfway through 2021.

As I looked through my current calendar I couldn’t help but notice how few weeks, let alone months, are left. Lots of holidays to plan for. A return to school. A look forward to better weather.

This year has been interesting in some ways, dull in others. In other words, not much different than other years.

Over in the Vernacular Society, Paige has announced that the community will be focusing the next couple of months on canning. We’ve already had sewing, baking, and hostessing sessions. I must admit that I’m not so interested in some as I am in others but I do enjoy the variety.

My crafty bloggers/vloggers are embarking on holiday projects. I know that some find it odd to be dealing with cold weather holiday preparation in hot summer months, but some things take time to bring to fruition.

I’ve a couple of vloggers who are working on home renovation projects. They have had learning curves to deal with along with the satisfaction of successful results.

I’d love learn what you are up to as August moves into September. Are you thinking ahead to the holidays? Let me know.

Musings

August? Already?

For a year that at times felt like it would go on forever and then switch to moving at warp speed, 2021 has been quite a ride.

I should state here and now that I’m not a fan of roller coasters. I’ve ridden on more than a few, survived, didn’t spent a lot of time or money at the chiropractor’s office and am more than happy to avoid them going forward. 🙂

In my corner of the world, we’ve experienced a very late Summer. Temps in the high 90s and low 100s usually arrive late June to early July. Somehow this year things were very different. Whoopee! /s Yeah, I’m not a fan of heat, either. As I write this, temps are edging closer to 100 and the humidity…is irrelevant at this point. It is miserable outside.

Speaking of outside, the Geraniums are still lush and green with no evidence of ever producing a flower. The tomato plants, however, are a different story all together. The one Large plant has 5 – 6 blossoms with 2 small green tomatoes. I honestly don’t know who is more excited, me or the plant. LOL!

In the meantime, I’ve been studying up on Ancient Rome along with some side forays into 18th & 19th century England. As a kid who grew up with quarterly specials covering a wide variety of non-entertainment programming, I find the process of uncovering this material interesting and worthwhile. Especially when you come across a book series that checks all the boxes. More about that later.

As you might have noticed, we are undergoing a bit of a renovation around here. I’m thinking it will be a slow but steady exercise in updating and upgrading. Personally, I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Musings

Pardon Our Dust!

As promised, the renovation of the OrangePlaidCat has begun! First up was an upgrade with the theme which has been an adventure. Not a bad experience, just one where there were Lots of Options and attendant confusion.

Readers – Heads Up!

It seems that there have been two separate feeds: The first was the original extended feed and the second was the direct feed (orangeplaidcat.com). Please check to make sure you are signed up for the latter.

Updating your feed will ensure that you get the latest posts. Can’t be missing out there, right? LOL!

Looking Forward

I’m planning on adding recipes to the site and am also looking at attachments that you can download. I experimented with that over the Holidays and it seems to have worked properly.

I’m looking at the Gallery and possible updates. The 2021 Garden Adventure photos have lived over on MeWe.com because there was space there. I might bring back a few or continue with new ones. (Note: The biggest tomato plant has two – count ’em two – buds as of today!

Speaking of recipes, I’m looking at adding craft or card recipes. Some bloggers have incorporated something similar into their formats and I think it could be a great addition here. I might expand it as I explore other crafts. Quilt projects, for example, might work well with that format. We shall see.

Last But Not Least

Never least. To all of you who have added me to your regular read list – Thank you! I can not begin to express how much I appreciate your sticking with me.

As always, please be sure to click on the “like” button if you enjoy a post and spread the word with your friends. We always enjoy company around here!

In the meantime, pardon our dust! 🙂

Musings

Breakfast Options

A Look At The Norm in Other Countries

I love breakfast! I can go full blown with eggs, toast, marmalade, bacon, sausage accompanied by a luscious cup of coffee. Alternatively, French pastries or just good toasted bread with butter and jam or jelly make a wonderful way to ease into the day.

A couple of my regular YouTubers recently posted on breakfast and I thought that both brought something interesting to the table, so to speak.

I do have to say that Cheryl and Mr. What’s For Tea had some wonderful meals, but the beans and toast always brings a smile to my face. As an American, these are basically Pork ‘N Beans – a favorite in my home although I’ve never had them for breakfast.

If you have not already done so, be sure to check out all of the recent videos in France. This one, however, just makes my mouth water. It has all my favorites!

While everyone has their particular favorites, I feel it is important to experiment every once in a while. You never know what you are missing, right?

What’s your favorite breakfast?

Around the House · Musings

Odds & Ends

Happy Saturday! Or whatever day you are reading this. LOL!

I just wanted to say a massive “HELLO!” to all the regulars and a “Welcome!” to those who are new. I’m glad you stopped by and hope you make sure to return often.

I also wanted to let you know that I will be making some changes to the place in the next few weeks. Nothing Earth-shattering – at least I hope not – but I will be adding some pictures and developing some free downloads to some posts. I’ve been testing out some ideas and am getting ready to put them into motion.

I’m so glad you are enjoying The Orange Plaid Cat! I enjoy this way of chatting with you!

As always, please let me know if you like something by clicking on the “Like” button at the bottom of all posts and don’t hesitate to comment or send me an email.

Talk more with you soon!

Cooking · Food · Musings

This Made My Heart Smile

I’ve long been a fan / admirer / pupil of Jacques Pepin. I enjoy spending time with him in the kitchen. Any kitchen. What he brings to the table is not only a wide knowledge of food and technique, but an ingrained frugality. There is rarely any frivolity in his menus.

That is not to say that there isn’t a touch of whimsy floating about. If you watch any of his cookery shows for very long, you will no doubt catch bits and pieces of his humor, his cheekiness, his love of the kitchen – and people.

Chef Pepin’s menus encompass using the best of what is available and wasting very, very little. It comes from his background in France growing up during World War II when food, among everything else, was exceptionally scarce.

As a result, he learned how to stretch the proverbial penny until it squeaked, making meals out of what might seem nothing into something rich, satisfying, comforting, delicious.

I encourage you to spend some time with Chef in his kitchen. Listen carefully and learn as much as you can. He is eager to teach you, help you, mentor you so you, too, can make wonderful food for those you love.

Truly, Happy Cooking!